(updated version 2012 with new chapters)
by MsCandyEmma (CandyTerry)
Author’s notes: I've always been frustrated by the way the anime treated Terry's "awakening to his duty from his drunken stupor" as compared to the Rockstown theater scene in the manga. Moreover, Candy was deprived of a real meeting with Terry after their break up in both in the anime and the manga. She never had a chance to reveal her true feelings for him and if she had, what would have happened? Here is the anime version in my mind that might have been, had they met... as well as what could have followed after...
The two men stood solemnly atop the hill looking down at the young nurse with the golden curls and the sunny disposition carefully tending to the wounds of a little girl.
"Do you want to see her?" Albert asked him quietly. After his long discussion with Terry at the park, he wondered himself if Terry was prepared to meet Candy again.
Terry stared thoughtfully at Candy below as she cheerfully bandaged a little girl's knee. What right did he have to disrupt her life with his presence now? What will she think of him, knowing he had left Susanna and had become a hopeless drunk, only to find his way back to Chicago just to be close to her? He realized with undeniable shame that when he had arrived in the city, he was unable to gather the courage to face her again. If she saw him now, it would crush him deeply to see the disappointment in her eyes. He could almost hear her cry: "Why, Terry, why did you leave Susanna?"
"No," he said adamantly. "I’m returning back to the Stratford Troupe."
Albert nodded, sensing Terry had made the right choice for himself. The conversation they had at the park had left him concerned over the welfare of his younger friend, whom he had always known to be full of spirit and high ambition. He felt hopeful that his friend was making the right step towards putting his life back together. Albert extended his hand out to him. "Good luck then, Terry."
Terry shook his hand firmly, resolving to put the past behind him and rebuild a new life that both he and Candy could be proud of. "Don’t tell her I was here."
"As you wish," Albert nodded in agreement.
"Who’s that with Albert?" said little Alys, pointing to the hill where Albert and a young man she didn’t recognize stood shaking hands.
"Hmmm?" Candy turned from her task, which involved a careful bandaging of Alys’s wounded knee. At age 8, she was already climbing trees, outrunning, and beating the younger boys in their games. The last game involved her jumping off a tall branch into a stack of hay. Unfortunately, the hay was not thick enough to brace her fall and she landed hard, gashing her knee accidentally as she made contact with the ground. She was lucky she had not broken her legs!
"Look! Up there!" Alys pointed to the top of the hill with childish curiousity.
Candy glanced upward and was motionless, her eyes growing wider at the sight of Terry with Albert. Is that ... is that…Terry? Her mind cried out in disbelief. Her hands suddenly trembled and grew weak, causing the roll of gauze to drop carelessly to the ground. She thought she would never see him again and there he was, standing at the top of the hill like a faded dream! She blinked her eyes hard and opened them, hoping the sun wasn’t playing tricks on her.
"Who’s that?" Alys insisted, pulling at her sleeve, pouting.
Candy couldn’t respond as her throat suddenly became dry and constricted. When she noticed Terry turning to leave, she suddenly found her voice and called out, "T...Terry!"
At the sound of his name, Terry and Albert froze in their tracks. Neither men had expected Candy to find them standing there and now that they were discovered, they stood stunned and speechless, completely unprepared for her reaction.
"Candy," Terry whispered as his eyes locked with her tearful gaze from far away. Everything around him seemed to fade and disappear into the background. For at that moment, his eyes could only see her... Candy... his Candy... Lady Freckles... Tarzan Freckles...
Tears of joy flowed freely down Candy’s cheeks as she gazed up at him with incredulous surprise. It’s you! It’s really you! Oh Terry!
"Candy!" Alys gave her a little kick, insisting she continue with her bandaging. "What’s wrong? Why are you crying?" She reached out to touch the tears on her cheeks. "Don't cry, Candy!"
At the little girl’s touch, Candy broke from her trance and gave her a tight squeeze. "I’m alright, silly."
Alys hugged her back. "Okay, but you’re choking me!"
Albert watched the silent exchange between the couple, his heart heavy with understanding and sympathy. Poor Terry, he thought, as he observed the young man’s hands clenching and unclenching at his sides, obviously torn about what to do next.
"I should go," Terry forced himself to say, as he watched Candy embracing the young girl in her arms.
"Are you sure?" Albert looked at him in surprise. He glanced down and noticed that Candy had stood up and was staring at both of them expectantly.
"Terry! Albert!" Candy called out again, and waved her hands, hoping to catch their attention.
Terry ripped his gaze from her sight and turned his head away painfully. "I must leave now," he said firmly. Or else I won’t leave her at all, he thought miserably.
Albert waved back to Candy to acknowledge her. "Candy!" He turned to Terry and said firmly, "Go."
Candy told Alys to sit and wait for her at the clinic as she proceeded to climb up the steps of the hill to meet them.
"Wait! I wanna come too," Alys pouted, detaining Candy by clinging to her apron. "Don’t leave me here!"
"You can’t walk up that hill with your sore knee!" Candy scolded her. She glanced up anxiously and saw that Terry had turned his back to her. What’s going on? She thought anxiously. Why is Terry here with Albert?
Terry nodded to Albert, fully aware that his decision would hurt them both. He hardened his face and turned to walk away.
"I said go," Albert repeated and placed a firm hand on the young man’s shoulder, detaining him. "But I meant GO to her."
Startled, Terry turned his head to give Albert a puzzled look. "What?"
"You heard me. Candy's waiting for you." He pointed to Candy, who was now struggling to climb up the hill with Alys on her back. "Look."
Little Alys had insisted on a piggyback ride up the hill since Candy had refused to let her walk. She was curious to meet the young man with Albert who looked like the pictures she had seen in the newspapers.
The steps leading to the top of the hill were long and steep. Under normal circumstances, Candy would have run up the steps with speed and agility, but at the moment, she had not counted on a 50 pound baggage on her back slowing her progression upwards.
"Hurry! Hurry!" Alys shouted gleefully, enjoying the piggy-back ride.
"Alys, did you put on weight? I told you not too eat too much ice cream!" Candy panted, while trudging upwards in an awkward pace.
"Don’t make excuses!" the little girl teased and pulled on the ribbons of Candy’s ponytails.
"AAAH!" Candy cried out as a part of her hair was caught in the ribbon that Alys was pulling. The sudden action caused her to lose her footing and sent them sprawling down the hill.
"Candy!" Terry shouted in alarm and ran down the steps.
Albert followed quickly behind him as they rushed to Candy and Alys’s side. Seeing that Terry was beside Candy, he picked up Alys in his arms and inspected her limbs for new bruises and abrasions.
"That was fun!!" Alys giggled merrily as she wound her arms around Albert’s neck. Falling down was nothing new to her and the quick tumble didn’t seem to hurt her at all. "Let’s do that again!"
Terry knelt beside Candy, who was nursing her bruised knee. "Candy, are you alright?" he cried out in concern as he noticed the abrasions on her arms and legs.
"I’m fine," she murmured, ignoring the stinging of her wounds.
Like a flashback from a dream, she saw Terry remove a handkerchief from his pocket and begin to dress her skinned elbow. In her mind, they were back at St. Paul’s Academy again, running around like carefree teenagers without a care in the world. She recalled the day she fell and hurt her arm and Terry had bandaged it tenderly back then, like he was doing now. Terry, she thought to herself. Why are you here?
Albert twirled Alys around in the air exclaiming, "I see you’re alright!"
Giggling, Alys clung to Albert and peered curiously at Terry. "Who’s that man?"
"A friend," Albert responded. "Come on Alys, let’s get you an ice cream cone."
"Ice cream! Yay!" Alys shouted with excitement.
Without a word, Albert walked away with Alys, leaving the young couple alone to tend to their own private wounds. Make the right decision for yourselves, he thought to himself.
In the distance, Candy could hear Alys shouting different flavors of ice cream to Albert, who playfully tried to appease her.
"I hope it won’t get infected," Terry said with concern as he tied a knot to keep the makeshift bandage in place.
She smiled reassuringly. "I’m sure it won’t," she said simply, and touched the handkerchief on her elbow. "I heal easily."
Terry glanced at her solemnly. Candy never ceased to amaze him with her courage and resiliency. You’re always smiling and cheerful, even when things are bad around you, he thought. He chuckled suddenly and stood up. "You haven’t changed, Candy," he said as he extended his hand to help her up.
She took his hand in hers and at their contact, neither one could suddenly move.
Candy stared at him anxiously, suddenly aware of the strong scent of alcohol in his breath and the faint bluish tint of a bruise on his cheek. His hair was slightly disheveled and his jacket was torn and wrinkled.
"Terry," she said with concern. "What happened to you?" She felt her heart grow heavy and a huge lump invaded her throat.
"It’s nothing to worry about," Terry said casually, immediately releasing her hand.
"I don’t believe you!" She blurted out as her mind raced over the obvious reasons for his unkempt state.
"Don’t worry about me, Candy," Terry said lightly as he brushed the dirt off his jacket.
"How can you say that?" She said angrily and grabbed the lapels of his jacket. "I’ll always worry about you! Don’t you know that? Just because we broke up doesn’t mean I stopped caring for you!" Tearfully, she buried her face in his jacket and continued to sob, "I left you so that you could be happy. I just want you to be happy, Terry!"
"Candy," he said quietly and gathered her close in his arms. Why must our embraces be painful like this? "Don’t cry, Candy," he said softly and nestled his face in her soft curls. How he missed the scent of roses in her hair and the soft feel of her arms around him.
If only time can stand still… Candy cried to herself as she sunk into his warm embrace. It was hard enough parting in New York. But seeing him again…how can I let him go again?
"Forgive me, Candy," he whispered in her hair. "Please forgive me."
Candy heard a slight choke in his voice and realized that he was crying as well. "Forgive you? Terry, there’s nothing to forgive," she reassured him and raised her head up to look into his eyes glazed with tears.
He shook his head. "You’re wrong, Candy. I didn’t keep my promise to you or Susanna. I couldn’t stay and make her happy."
"I couldn’t forget you. I thought that if I stayed with Susanna and tried to make her happy, that things would be alright… but everything fell apart." He gave a self-deprecating chuckle. "I’m afraid I'm not as strong as you, Candy."
"You fool!" She burst out furiously. "I suffered too! Do you think it was easy for me to leave you behind? It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life!"
Terry nodded gravely. "I never wanted to let you go."
"But we had to…Terry… we had to," she continued tearfully and regretfully. She broke free from his arms and took a step back, shaking her head.
Terry gazed at her miserably. "I didn’t mean to come back and put you through this again." He bent his head down in agony and turned to leave. "I’m sorry… I’ll leave now…"
The sound of a hard slap across his face pierced through the air. Terry stumbled backwards, stunned in disbelief. Then he hung his head and closed his eyes, too ashamed to face her judgement. He couldn’t blame her for slapping him. His behavior was pathetic and disgraceful even to himself.
Shaking with frustration and sorrow, Candy burst out tearfully, "What’s happened to you?! This isn’t the Terry that I know! You're better than this so stop behaving like you're a worthless drunk!"
"Look at yourself! I hardly recognize you as the man who stood before a huge audience, impressing everyone with his talent and performance!"
"That man is gone now…" Terry murmured, his eyes downcast.
"I don’t believe you!" Candy cried out angrily. "The Terry that I know…" in her mind, she added, "...the Terry that I love"… "would never turn his back on his duty… or his dream!" She wiped away the tears welling in her eyes and gave him a determined look. "The theater is your life, Terry."
"Candy..." His eyes bore into her tearful gaze. No, Candy... The theater is my dream, but YOU are my life, was what he wanted to say, but the words were somehow trapped in his throat. Instead, he bent his head down and shut his eyes from her painful gaze. "You’re right, Candy," he said solemnly. "That’s why I've decided to return back to the Stratford Troupe."
"You… you are?" she asked, almost doubtfully.
He touched the bruise on his cheek and gave a wry smile. "You and Albert convinced me of that."
Candy couldn’t help but give a lop-sided smile. Although she didn’t know the full details of Albert’s encounter with Terry, she could guess at how it ended. Albert was a true friend to Terry and she never doubted that he would be there to counsel him at his darkest hour. She wiped the tears from her cheeks and nodded hopefully. "Then you’ll be returning back to New York…" she said lightly, her heart aching at the thought of his leaving. Back to Susanna… she was about to add, but the words were trapped in her throat like a painful lump.
Terry nodded, looking away. "In the next train, I will."
"Then I’ll see you off…" her voice trailed, then stopped as she recalled they had the same conversation in the hospital.
"There’s no need," he said quietly, her thoughts mirroring his own. The words spoken between them the night of their break-up had played through his mind like a broken record, invading his darkest dreams and haunting his thoughts even during the day. Ironically, she was saying the very words he spoke that fateful night and the last thing he wanted was a repeat performance.
Candy nodded, knowing he was right. How can I say goodbye again? She mourned to herself. Terry, I’ll never see you again… At least I got to see you one last time… She decided to put on a cheerful face to dispel the tangent sorrow in the air. "If I see you drunk again, I won’t be as forgiving! So you’d better behave yourself and be happy…" Her voice choked as unexpected tears welled in her eyes. "… just be happy!"
"You too, Candy…" he said quietly, his hands clenching into tight fists at his side to prevent himself from touching her one last time. Instead, he let his eyes linger on her face as if to engrave the look of love in his heart. Farewell again, Lady Freckles.
Candy bit her lip to keep them from trembling as she watched his retreating back. It took all her willpower to stop herself from chasing after him and begging him to stay with her. It must be this way… it must be this way… she chanted to herself, then crumpled into a sobbing heap to the ground. Her mind cried out… Terry, I’ll always love you!
"Candy, why are you crying?" Alys had come running back to share her ice cream with Candy and was saddened to see her favorite nurse in tears. "Does your leg hurt?"
Candy quickly dried her tears and planted a smile on her face. "Alys! You’re back! Where’s Albert?"
"We’re playing hide-and-seek," Alys said cheekily. "You know I always win! Here…" she gave her melted ice cream cone to Candy. "This will cheer you up."
Candy received the cone graciously and took a bite. "Mmmm… I feel better already!" she smiled. Her eyes turned inadvertently towards Terry, who continued to walk away without turning his head back.
"Did that man make you cry?" Alys questioned astutely.
"No, silly," Candy assured her.
"Albert told me you two were in love," Alys pointed out curiously.
Surprised and embarrassed, Candy could only nod. Such a nosy little thing, she thought. Albert will hear from me!
"Aren’t people in love suppose to stay together?" Alys demanded. "That’s what my mummy said!"
Candy gave a small laugh. "Yes, it’s true but…" She hesitated, unsure of how to explain her complicated lovelife to a precocious eight-year-old. "… but sometimes people who love each other can’t stay together. Sometimes it has to be that way..."
"Like mummy and daddy?" Alys wondered out loud. "Mummy says that she can’t be with daddy because he’s in heaven."
"Yes… yes, just like your mummy and daddy," Candy agreed, thankful that she didn’t have to explain further.
"But daddy’s dead! And that man is still alive!" Alys argued. "So why aren’t you with him?"
"Alys… you’re too young to understand," Candy said helplessly. "Alys!" She yelled after the little girl as she ran down the street towards Terry’s disappearing figure.
Alys dropped her ice cream cone and ran as fast as her little legs could carry her, despite her injured knee. She had heard and watched the entire conversation between Candy and Terry behind the clinic walls while her ice cream melted in her little hands. She couldn’t understand why they had to break up when they obviously still loved each other! Mummy cried when daddy died! I don't want Candy to cry too!
"Hey mister!" Alys yelled to Terry, still panting from the long run.
Startled, Terry stopped in his tracks and turned to look down. He instantly recognized the little girl who was with Candy earlier. "Yes?" he said curiously.
Alys frowned, her lips forming into a small pout. "Why are you leaving Candy?"
Terry looked back at the clinic and could vaguely see Candy’s figure moving outside. "It’s none of your business, kid," he teased and began walking away.
Not to be set aside that easily, Alys blocked his path with her hands extended outward. "Not so fast, mister! You made Candy cry and now you have to go back and say sorry to her!"
Terry smiled gently, amused by Alys’s concern. He knelt down beside her and stuck out his little finger. "If I go back, I’ll only make her cry more. Can I count on you to keep her from crying again? It’s times like this that we need our friends."
Alys looked at his finger then stared curiously into his teasing blue eyes. There was a sincerity behind them that reached out and struck a chord in her young heart. Nodding, she stuck out her little finger and hooked it with his, making a pact. "You can count on me," she promised.
"Good," he smiled, satisfied, and stood up to leave.
"You’ll come back again and visit her, won’t you?" Alys pleaded.
Chuckling, Terry answered by rumpling her hair affectionately before walking away.
Alys watched his retreating back sadly. "Please come back again, mister!" She yelled. She remembered her mother sobbing over her father’s coffin crying, Why did you have to leave us? Why?
"Alys!" Candy shouted from the clinic and waved for her to return. "Your mother’s here!"
"I’m coming!" She shouted in return, waving. When she turned her head towards the end of the street, Terry was already gone.
Chapter 2 (yes, I continued it for fans who were too sad and wanted a happier end! )© (2000)MsCandyEmma